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60th Birthday Ten Mile Run Between The Raindrops & The Lightning

An invigorating charge through balmy autumn elements,
soaking the skin and the insoles….

It was starting to rain, but not too heavily yet. predicted there would only be the lighter “showers” until noon, when the “rain, thunder/lightning” would start, so after accomplishing my chores, I decided to run between the drops and try to go ten miles on my 60th birthday. At a quarter to eleven I left, just a mild rain falling inconsistently.

The day before I had bicycled 35 miles on an inspiring
journey west through parts of Long Island I had never
seen before. Ponds and bays and inlets everywhere, even
in the redoubtable town of Mastic.

So today’s balminess and 62 degree Fahrenheit temperature
felt good. But I left prepared, with a baseball cap, a thin
repellent nylon running jacket, a plastic bag to cover my CD
player in case the deluge came again, as it had been
occurring and re-occurring once the precipitation began
around 8:30 A.M. After a few invigorating miles, I reached
the beach south of my house by the bay. The tide was
higher than expected, so, after running as far as I could
to the east on the rocky/pebbly beach, I then went
west until I had to turn up off the seaweed and slippery
stones and sand, onto another road,
up the wooden stairs, charge up the incline toward 27A/Montauk Highway, when the sheets of moisture started
to splash all around me. I seldom stop to make alterations,
or tie up, or take off my shirt or jacket, as I continue along
my timed trail, and today was no exception.

However, very quickly I was getting soaked as I tied the strings tightening the hood of my jacket, over my blue NY Mets hat, and still felt wetted to my yellow shirt beneath. The water was flooding the sides of the road as the cars came at me, but I was determined to make the full ten miles, expecting the rain to eventually fade, if I persisted chugging down 27A.

But then flashed the lightning behind me and there rolled
the thunder. WHOOPS! I decided it would be horrible
to get struck by a bolt of randomly focused energy and die
or be paralyzed on this momentous birthday, so I turned
toward home, running along the side of the road that
seemed to expose me less. Although I could not figure which direction subsequent shocks of lightning and thunder were approaching from.

I had gone about 5 and a half miles. There would be no side trips up dirt roads, because of all the water accumulating, and the threat of catastrophic electrical injury. I thought of
my former father-in-law, who always acted as if he knew
what he was doing, getting struck by lightning. Not me, boy. But the sounds were getting closer. I hoped they would not be overhead soon, as I turned onto Longview Road, that is about two miles from my house. I considered running onto the main real highway to add some more distance to my total, but rejected that as another rumble of thunder seemed to be sounding ahead of me and to the left, where Sunrise Highway or Route 27 is.

Nah, I would run up the sandy trail ahead covered by trees, and reach my house to then have to muster three miles or so, running around my more sheltered property, maybe finishing up running 1-2 miles inside my house, a la my 99 year old father, when he is limited to quarters by inclement weather, or bronchitis.

Then the rain lightened, almost stopped. I had reached my house, dropped the stuttering shorted out CD player in the back seat of my station wagon/Toyota, along with my headphones. Circled about the driveway a few times, and ran back out onto the road. I was still feeling mighty good, especially reflecting on the Democrats taking over Congress, picturing the waterboarding that the torture-approving fools had accepted, needing to be overturned urgently. People held under water by several torturers, and that was OK by George Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney. Just imagine if Cheney was held under like that with his damaged ticker….same for other unfortunates, as the USA dangerously approached KGB-Stalin-Soviet territory.

Anyway, back up the road, by the boatyard, the rains
started to thicken again. Another detour onto an
empty St. Andrew’s Road, that was flooded just two
minutes in, unpassable without completely saturating
your shoes sent me u-turning. At the old homestead,
I noted it was 91 minutes on my chronometer, which
is about 9 miles by the speed I run at, as I climbed my
stairs. Pulling off my green New Balances, the
insoles bowed, and my socks were saturated and
green/blue. I called my father and told him I was
doing an “Irving,” [his name] as I finished up my
final mile, varying the circle through my living room and kitchen between various pieces of furniture. His ladyfriend, also on the line, dismissed my effort, saying in effect,
“Puh!” Actually, she commented: “Nine miles is
too much.” Then I told her about the 35 miles for
the day before. That gave her a slightly different
perspective. My father liked it.

I finished up barefoot, leaving a message on my
son’s voicemail, ready to keep going for who knows
how long. Then I helped my wife, fed her some lunch, and stepped into the shower. But first I stuffed newspaper into my perhaps ruined shoes and placed them and the
insoles I removed by the quiet fireplace. It was a
good way to start the day, as the rains continued
all afternoon, even into the Giants-Bears night game
being played in New Jersey. I need to be surfing
on my vacation that I just started, but that is another
story…..Yes, I am proudly fit, and prepared to take
on just about anything as I proceed into my seventh
decade on this enamored moderately de-flowered planet….

C 2006 Conrad Miller M.D.

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